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1.
Euro Surveill ; 27(15)2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1869325

ABSTRACT

BackgroundHouseholds appear to be the highest risk setting for COVID-19 transmission. Large household transmission studies in the early stages of the pandemic in Asia reported secondary attack rates ranging from 5 to 30%.AimWe aimed to investigate the transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in household and community settings in the UK.MethodsA prospective case-ascertained study design based on the World Health Organization FFX protocol was undertaken in the UK following the detection of the first case in late January 2020. Household contacts of cases were followed using enhanced surveillance forms to establish whether they developed symptoms of COVID-19, became confirmed cases and their outcomes. We estimated household secondary attack rates (SAR), serial intervals and individual and household basic reproduction numbers. The incubation period was estimated using known point source exposures that resulted in secondary cases.ResultsWe included 233 households with two or more people with 472 contacts. The overall household SAR was 37% (95% CI: 31-43%) with a mean serial interval of 4.67 days, an R0 of 1.85 and a household reproduction number of 2.33. SAR were lower in larger households and highest when the primary case was younger than 18 years. We estimated a mean incubation period of around 4.5 days.ConclusionsRates of COVID-19 household transmission were high in the UK for ages above and under 18 years, emphasising the need for preventative measures in this setting. This study highlights the importance of the FFX protocol in providing early insights on transmission dynamics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Family Characteristics , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom/epidemiology
2.
Age Ageing ; 51(5)2022 05 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1860800

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are at high risk of adverse outcomes from SARS-CoV-2. We aimed to estimate the vaccine effectiveness (VE) of one and two doses of BNT162b2 and ChAdOx-1 against SARS CoV-2 infection and COVID-19-related death in residents of LTCFs. METHODS: this observational study used testing, vaccination and mortality data for LTCF residents aged ≥ 65 years who were regularly tested regardless of symptoms from 8 December 2020 to 30 September 2021 in England. Adjusted VE, calculated as one minus adjusted hazard ratio, was estimated using time-varying Cox proportional hazards models for infection and death within 28 days of positive test result. Vaccine status was defined by receipt of one or two doses of vaccine and assessed over a range of intervals. RESULTS: of 197,885 LTCF residents, 47,087 (23.8%) had a positive test and 11,329 (5.8%) died within 28 days of a positive test during the study period. Relative to unvaccinated individuals, VE for infection was highest for ChAdOx-1 at 61% (40-74%) at 1-4 weeks and for BNT162b2 at 69% (52-80%) at 11-15 weeks following the second dose. Against death, VE was highest for ChAdOx-1 at 83% (58-94%) at 1-4 weeks and for BNT162b2 at 91% (75-97%) at 11-15 weeks following second dose. CONCLUSIONS: compared with unvaccinated residents, vaccination with one dose of BNT162b2 or ChAdOx-1 provided moderate protection against infection and death in residents of LTCFs. Protection against death improved after two doses. However, some waning of protection over time was noted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , England/epidemiology , Humans , Long-Term Care , Proportional Hazards Models
3.
Public Health Pract (Oxf) ; 2: 100217, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1829400

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Human behavioural factors are an important consideration in the response to COVID-19 outbreaks. Prior to the emergence of highly infectious variants of SARS-CoV-2 and implementation of vaccination programmes, we conducted a study to explore the role of behavioural factors influencing transmission at an essential services workplace during an outbreak of COVID-19. STUDY DESIGN: Observational cohort study. METHODS: In response to a COVID-19 outbreak in November 2020 at an office-based call centre workplace providing an essential service in Thames Valley, we designed and conducted an anonymous staff questionnaire to explore potential behavioural factors of staff behaviour that influence transmission. RESULTS: A total of 45 staff (27%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 over a six-week period between 26 October and 14 December 2020. The online questionnaire was cascaded to 168 staff members; the response rate was 41%. Self-reported use of hand sanitiser, face masks and cleaning of equipment in line with workplace guidance was 86%, 66% and 63% respectively. On the same behaviours, respondents reported that 33%, 31% and 14% of their colleagues followed the recommendations. Almost two thirds of respondents (63%) reported that they were unable to maintain social distancing at the workplace, primarily due to operational constraints. CONCLUSIONS: Prevention and control of COVID-19 outbreaks at workplaces providing an essential service is challenging. Operational requirements, often compounded by reduced staff availability, impede implementation of more robust control measures. Ongoing assessment of human behavioural factors in the control of COVID-19 outbreaks at workplaces in the post-vaccine era is essential.

4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-322164

ABSTRACT

Background: We investigated the effect of both doses of either BNT162b2 or ChAdOx-1 vaccine among residents of Long-term care facilities (LTCFs) in England. This cohort is at particularly high risk for severe outcomes related to COVID-19 and is regularly tested regardless of symptoms.Methods: This observational study uses testing, immunisation and mortality data from 8 December 2020 to 25 June 2021 in LTCF residents aged 65 years and above. Cox proportional hazards models were used to derive adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) for the risk of infection and death within 28 days of positive test result, adjusted for sex, age-group, previous infection, deprivation, and incidence rate in the local authority area. The impact of interval between first and second dose was also explored. Findings: Of 219733 LTCF residents, 41828 (19%) had a positive test and 10719 (4.9%) died within 28 days of a positive test during the study period. Relative to unvaccinated individuals, aHR for infection were lowest at 0.43 (95% CI 0.35-0.52) 36-49 days after first dose and 0.27 (0.20-0.38) at 29-60 days following second dose . Against death, aHR was lowest at 0.25 (0.20-0.31) 28-56 days after first dose and 0.13 (0-05-0.32) in the 1-14 days after second dose. As expected, some waning of protection against infection was observed after seven weeks from first dose which persisted to 2-4 weeks following second dose. Interpretation: Vaccination with one dose of BNT162b2 and ChAdOx-1 provides moderate protection against infection and death in residents in LTCFs. Protection is strong after two doses.Funding: None to declare.Declaration of Interest: None to declare. Ethical Approval: Vaccine effectiveness studies are undertaken by Public Health England as part of ongoing surveillance activities and did not require ethical approval.

5.
J Epidemiol Community Health ; 2021 Nov 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1515313

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Persons living in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are presumed to be at higher risk of adverse outcomes from SARS-CoV-2 infection due to increasing age and frailty, but the magnitude of increased risk is not well quantified. METHODS: After linking demographic and mortality data for cases with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection between March 2020 and January 2021 in England, a random sample of 6000 persons who died and 36 000 who did not die within 28 days of a positive test was obtained from the dataset of 3 020 800 patients. Based on an address-matching process, the residence type of each case was categorised into one of private home and residential or nursing LTCF. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted. RESULTS: Multivariable analysis showed that an interaction effect between age and residence type determined the outcome. Compared with a 60-year-old person not living in LTCF, the adjusted OR (aOR) for same-aged persons living in residential and nursing LTCFs was 1.77 (95% CI 1.21 to 2.6, p=0.0017) and 3.95 (95% CI 2.77 to 5.64, p<0.0001), respectively. At 90 years of age, aORs were 0.87 (95% CI 0.72 to 1.06, p=0.21) and 0.74 (95% CI 0.61 to 0.9, p=0.001), respectively. The model had an overall accuracy of 94.2% (94.2%) when applied to the full dataset of 2 978 800 patients. CONCLUSION: This study found that residents of LTCFs in England had higher odds of death up to 80 years of age. Beyond 80 years, there was no difference in the odds of death for LTCF residents compared with those in the wider community.

6.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 3: 100038, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1192394

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Care homes have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We investigated the potential role of asymptomatic infection and silent transmission in London care homes that reported no cases of COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic. METHODS: Five care homes with no cases and two care homes reporting a single case of COVID-19 (non-outbreak homes) were investigated with nasal swabbing for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR and serology for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies five weeks later. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) was performed on RT-PCR positive samples. Serology results were compared with those of six care homes with recognised outbreaks. FINDINGS: Across seven non-outbreak homes, 718 (387 staff, 331 residents) individuals had a nasal swab and 651 (386 staff, 265 residents) had follow-up serology. Sixteen individuals (13 residents, 3 staff) in five care homes with no reported cases were RT-PCR positive (care home positivity rates, 0 to 7.6%) compared to 13 individuals (3.0 and 10.8% positivity) in two homes reporting a single case.Seropositivity across these seven homes varied between 10.7-56.5%, with four exceeding community seroprevalence in London (14.8%). Seropositivity rates for staff and residents correlated significantly (rs 0.84, [95% CI 0.51-0.95] p <0.001) across the 13 homes. WGS identified multiple introductions into some homes and silent transmission of a single lineage between staff and residents in one home. INTERPRETATION: We found high rates of asymptomatic infection and transmission even in care homes with no COVID-19 cases. The higher seropositivity rates compared to RT-PCR positivity highlights the true extent of the silent outbreak. FUNDING: PHE.

7.
Age Ageing ; 50(3): 649-656, 2021 05 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1096485

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Previous investigations have identified high rates of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among residents and staff in care homes reporting an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We investigated care homes reporting a single suspected or confirmed case to assess whether early mass testing might reduce risk of transmission during the peak of the pandemic in London. METHODS: Between 18 and 27 April 2020, residents and staff in care homes reporting a single case of COVID-19 to Public Health England had a nasal swab to test for SARS-CoV-2 infection by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and subsequent whole-genome sequencing. Residents and staff in two care homes were re-tested 8 days later. RESULTS: Four care homes were investigated. SARS-CoV-2 positivity was 20% (65/333) overall, ranging between 3 and 59%. Among residents, positivity ranged between 3 and 76% compared with 3 and 40% in staff. Half of the SARS-CoV-2-positive residents (23/46, 50%) and 63% of staff (12/19) reported symptoms within 14 days before or after testing. Repeat testing 8 days later in two care homes with the highest infection rates identified only two new cases. Genomic analysis demonstrated a small number of introduction of the virus into care homes, and distinct clusters within three of the care homes. CONCLUSIONS: We found extensive but variable rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection among residents and staff in care homes reporting a single case of COVID-19. Although routine whole-home testing has now been adopted into practice, care homes must remain vigilant and should be encouraged to report a single suspected case, which should trigger appropriate outbreak control measures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Mass Screening/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19 Testing , England , Female , Humans , Infection Control , London/epidemiology , Long-Term Care , Male , Pandemics , Policy , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Whole Genome Sequencing
9.
EClinicalMedicine ; 28: 100597, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-912161

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We investigated six London care homes experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak and found high rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection among residents and staff. Here we report follow-up investigations including antibody testing in the same care homes five weeks later. METHODS: Residents and staff in the initial investigation had a repeat nasal swab for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR and a blood test for SARS CoV-2 antibodies using ELISA based on SARS-CoV-2 native viral antigens derived from infected cells and virus neutralisation. FINDINGS: Of the 518 residents and staff in the initial investigation, 186/241 (77.2%) surviving residents and 208/254 (81.9%) staff underwent serological testing. Almost all SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR positive residents and staff were seropositive five weeks later, whether symptomatic (residents 35/35, 100%; staff, 22/22, 100%) or asymptomatic (residents 32/33, 97.0%; staff 21/22, 95.5%). Symptomatic but SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR negative residents and staff also had high seropositivity rates (residents 23/27, 85.2%; staff 18/21, 85.7%), as did asymptomatic RT-PCR negative individuals (residents 61/91, 67.0%; staff 95/143, 66.4%). Neutralising antibody was detected in 118/132 (89.4%) seropositive individuals and was not associated with age or symptoms. Ten residents (10/79 re-tested, 12.7%) remained RT-PCR positive but with higher RT-PCR cycle threshold values; 7/10 had serological testing and all were seropositive. New infections were detected in three residents and one staff. INTERPRETATION: RT-PCR provides a point prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection but significantly underestimates total exposure in outbreak settings. In care homes experiencing large COVID-19 outbreaks, most residents and staff had neutralising SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, which was not associated with age or symptoms. FUNDING: PHE.

10.
J Infect ; 81(4): 621-624, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-801950

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Care homes have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to suffer large outbreaks even when community infection rates are declining, thus representing important pockets of transmission. We assessed occupational risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection among staff in six care homes experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak during the peak of the pandemic in London, England. METHODS: Care home staff were tested for SARS-COV-2 infection by RT-PCR and asked to report any symptoms, their contact with residents and if they worked in different care homes. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) was performed on RT-PCR positive samples. RESULTS: In total, 53 (21%) of 254 staff were SARS-CoV-2 positive but only 12/53 (23%) were symptomatic. Among staff working in a single care home, SARS-CoV-2 positivity was 15% (2/13), 16% (7/45) and 18% (30/169) in those reporting no, occasional and regular contact with residents. In contrast, staff working across different care homes (14/27, 52%) had a 3.0-fold (95% CI, 1.9-4.8; P<0.001) higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 positivity than staff working in single care homes (39/227, 17%). WGS identified SARS-CoV-2 clusters involving staff only, including some that included staff working across different care homes. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 positivity was significantly higher among staff working across different care homes than those who were working in the same care home. We found local clusters of SARS-CoV-2 infection between staff only, including those with minimal resident contact. Infection control should be extended for all contact, including those between staff, whilst on care home premises.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Homes for the Aged/statistics & numerical data , Medical Staff/statistics & numerical data , Nursing Homes/statistics & numerical data , Occupational Exposure/adverse effects , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , England/epidemiology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Infection Control/methods , London/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , SARS-CoV-2 , Whole Genome Sequencing
11.
EClinicalMedicine ; 26: 100533, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-753678

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Care homes are experiencing large outbreaks of COVID-19 associated with high case-fatality rates. We conducted detailed investigations in six London care homes reporting suspected COVID-19 outbreaks during April 2020. METHODS: Residents and staff had nasal swabs for SARS CoV-2 testing using RT-PCR and were followed-up for 14 days. They were categorized as symptomatic, post-symptomatic or pre-symptomatic if they had symptoms at the time of testing, in the two weeks before or two weeks after testing, respectively, or asymptomatic throughout. Virus isolation and whole genome sequencing (WGS) was also performed. FINDINGS: Across the six care homes, 105/264 (39.8%) residents were SARS CoV-2 positive, including 28 (26.7%) symptomatic, 10 (9.5%) post-symptomatic, 21 (20.0%) pre-symptomatic and 46 (43.8%) who remained asymptomatic. Case-fatality at 14-day follow-up was highest among symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 positive residents (10/28, 35.7%) compared to asymptomatic (2/46, 4.3%), post-symptomatic (2/10, 20.0%) or pre-symptomatic (3/21,14.3%) residents. Among staff, 53/254 (20.9%) were SARS-CoV-2 positive and 26/53 (49.1%) remained asymptomatic. RT-PCR cycle-thresholds and live-virus recovery were similar between symptomatic/asymptomatic residents/staff. Higher RT-PCR cycle threshold values (lower virus load) samples were associated with exponentially decreasing ability to recover infectious virus (P<0.001). WGS identified multiple (up to 9) separate introductions of different SARS-CoV-2 strains into individual care homes. INTERPRETATION: A high prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 positivity was found in care homes residents and staff, half of whom were asymptomatic and potential reservoirs for on-going transmission. A third of symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 residents died within 14 days. Symptom-based screening alone is not sufficient for outbreak control. FUNDING: None.

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